A story via the Guardian… Blurring our location in tracking apps shows developers are finally recognising that we want our computers to think like us
From theGuardian –
Knowing exactly where your friends are all the time is creepy; only someone who works in surveillance has that data. Knowing roughly where they are, though, feels a lot more acceptable. That’s the thinking behind Facebook Nearby Friends (being rolled out gradually), which will let your Facebook friends let you know roughly where they are – grouped by “ambient proximity”, which splits roughly into half-mile or mile differences, but no more precise. The fascinating thing about “Nearby Friends” is that Facebook could tell you exactly where people are.Apple‘s “Find My Friends” app does that (if a friend gives you permission to track their location); Google’s Latitude did the same between 2009 and 2013. But Facebook chooses not to be accurate. Even as our devices can tell the world more about us, with greater precision, we’re choosing to be less precise.
Foursquare, another location-sharing app (which encourages people to “check in” at locations to become “mayor”) is also releasing Swarm, which will group friends based on rough location. Rather than the radar accuracy that we imagined would be so desirable a few years ago, both Facebook and Foursquare are aiming for “good enough”. But it’s not that they don’t know where you are. It’s that they’re intentionally blurring the signal.